16 November 2007

Organic shamans of the working class

President Bush has achieved his dismal world standing despite spending $1.6 billion of hard-pressed Americans' tax money on black magic and brainwashing between 2003 and 2006.

- Paul Craig Roberts. Oh, sorry, that should read "public relations", not "black magic and brainwashing" above. Or should it?

Capitalism head-fixing technology smashes all previous forms of family and social life, and incorporates and commodifies any new social movements which do not base themselves on a clearly defined anti-capitalist political praxis. As Buddhism and the teachings of Thelema (properly understood) make clear, the individual is an illusion, something which is a result of the world we live in, not a cause.

The novelty in the current epoch of history is that the egregore of capitalism (generalised commodity production and wage labour) now dominates the majority of all human experience, and its sphere of domination inexorably expands in the absence of successful class struggle. You are what you are - I am sorry to say - because of how your personality evolved to enable you to survive under capitalism. (And if it failed to do so, I'm glad to see that they allow you to read my blog in the mental hospital or prison.)

This way of thinking bears some relationship to Althusser's concept of the individual being "interpellated" in capitalist social structures through the "Ideological State Apparatuses" of academia, media, etc. But I reject Althusser's essentially Stalinist and anti-humanist approach. All social structures are traceable back to human biological imperatives which in some cases predate our acquisition of consciousness, and the whole purpose of Chaos Marxist work is to create harmony between our essential animal nature and a technological civilisation which could enable us to transcend, rather than repress, that nature. The idea is that human individuality will become possible for the first time after capitalism. Also, he killed his wife.

Lies and delusion are the common currency of the modern era, since our rulers have decided they can no longer afford to buy our compliance with real money. Superstition, fanatical religion, fanatical religion disguised as politics, mind-control cults and cargo cults flourish in an era of social defeat. There is an "arms race" going on in current culture between the brainwashing / black magic skills of the ruling class and their ideological apparatus, and the objective despair, alienation and anger at the grassroots of society.

The bone-level anger and hatred, evoked in working people by the grimness of life as disposable labour in 21st century capitalism, expresses itself in a continuous "slow motion" riot. Working people take it out on themselves and occasionally random members of the bourgeoisie, in the shape of violence, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and property damage. Our rulers attempt to channel this continually welling hatred into mindless patriotism, hatred of religious, political or ethnic outsiders, and compulsion to buy whatever commodities will engender the illusion of being a valued part of a community for about ten minutes - like Fox News, or those reality TV shows where you get a vote which will affect collectively-experienced reality more significantly than a vote in a general election. (For the niche market who think they're too cool for Pop Idol or whatever, they've got you with the games which give you the illusion of being part of the Chosen Elite.)

Simply put: in internet-consumer culture, games and similar commodities substitute for unbearable reality. Chaos Marxism plays games as well, but as training for reality.

The task for organic intellectuals / cultural-political magi / revolutionary witches / whateverthehell can't just be coming up with the ideology needed for our side to win. We need to come up with an entire culture, and by extension, an entire identity - or at least a framework in which new and better identities of opposition can grow. If we don't do that, people have no choice but to continue to believe that they are who the TV, the teacher, the boss and the priest tell them they are. We don't just need our own academy - we need our own entertainment, we need our own mythology, until the day we break through and can just be human.

The catch is, though: how can we do this without turning into a self-absorbed sect or even a mind control cult? The basic answer is "vanguardism, not elitism" - the difference being that you can only be a vanguard if (a) you are actually, demonstrably out in front, (b) you've got a large number of people following you. If your particular Order or League or Party or whatever isn't an organic part of a mass movement and playing a leading role, don't you think it should be? The second part of the answer is: you have to have the right kind of boundaries between yourself and the mass movement, once you're in there. No boundaries and you might as well not exist. Firm, steel-hard boundaries and you'll be incapable of actually leading - your comrades will distrust you at best and hate you at worst. An actual revolutionary vanguard can't afford to have secrets or hidden agendas. To lead you have to learn as well as teach.